I’m willing to bet that you think you have some idea of what both marketing and branding are.
If you’re like most people, you believe they are one in the same and hinge on one important detail: making things look pretty.
I’ll also be willing to bet that you have no idea how hard you made me cringe just now.
Okay, it’s not your fault. There isn’t a whole lot out there that makes distinguishing the two very easy or relatable. To ease my own anguish and that of thousands of other branders and marketers, I’m going to set the record straight, once and for all.
You’re not even close (well, a smidge but it’s nominal). Branding is not, I repeat, not a logo and a website. Just as marketing is not posters and web banners.
While a lot of the end result of marketing and branding is ‘pretty’, the difference is completely striking and undeniably necessary for the inner workings of any company.
Allow me to divulge:
(I use this in all my pitches, so get ready for the inside scoop. Don’t you feel special?)
Marketing and branding can be discerned using this very simple analogy: If marketing gets you the first date, branding will get you the second.
Marketing gets the customers attention while branding is the personality that keeps them around to build the relationship.
The one thing that both of these inherently different avenues do have in common: they’re both horribly annoying buzz words that people love to say to make themselves feel important.
But I digress.
Getting down to brass tacks, here are 5 statements (and their tedious explanations) that will make it easier to recall the distinct differences between marketing and branding when you overuse both terms to your team and/or boss in an effort to win their admiration and praise.
Just like the analogy, marketing is flashy, attention-getting. If you were a guy (or girl or non-binary folk) attempting to attract someone, this would be where you peacock to get that date. Branding on the other hand shows the inner you; the intimate side that latches on to their heart and gets the ring, the babies and the happily ever after.
As an intelligent business owner (which I’m sure you are), getting to know yourself before putting it out to others is the best move. As branding is your ‘personality’, this should come first before you go touting yourself about town (marketing).
Buy now! Get it while it lasts! Don’t stop now, you’re on a roll! That’s marketing.
The earth deserves less plastic! You love reggae? ME TOO! Family is so important to me. That’s branding.
You’ve seen this. The Nike swoosh never changes (if it did the design community would have a coronary); their tagline never changes; their stance on issues never changes. But their ads do, their slogans do, their campaigns do.
Think about how you pick up things from your friends, little isms that you never had before. They rub off on you. Your personality rubs off on them. Branding influences the way you do everything; how your company functions; how employees feel about working with you. Marketing…not so much. Marketing is still just about them, your audience (yes, it's always about them, never about you...sorry).
So now you know. Stop making me cringe.
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